Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

Deputy Accused of False Report Had Been Restricted to Station

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy-trainee, who officials say made a false report about being shot, had been restricted to assignments inside the Lancaster station and was counseled about job performance problems just before the incident, several law enforcement sources told NBCLA.

Deputy Angel Reinosa, 21, was relieved of duty after Sheriff's officials said Saturday Reinosa confessed that he'd made up a story about being shot in the shoulder while standing in the station parking lot last week.

The sources said Reinosa's training officer and another supervisor at the Lancaster station had documented incidents of what they described as, "dishonesty."

Last Wednesday, the day of the hoax, Reinosa had been directed to work inside the Sheriff's station and was not sent out to patrol in a black-and-white, they said.

Reinosa could not be reached for comment.

A request was also passed through the union that represents deputies, the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs. Sheriff's officials said they'd become skeptical of Reinosa's story within hours of his report that he'd been attacked while standing near the helipad in the station parking lot.

Reinosa reported he'd been shot at 2:48 p.m. He made the initial report over the department's two-way radio system.

"I'm taking shots from the north of the Lancaster helipad," Reinosa said, according to a recording of the dispatch radio traffic obtained by NBCLA. "I think I'm hit in the right shoulder, it might have gone through."

An LASD spokesperson initially said other deputies were fired at, but later in the day officials said Reinosa was the only person involved.

"Angel Reinosa admitted that he was not shot at from the apartment complex area as he previously claimed," Capt. Kent Wegener said during the Saturday night news conference. "He also told investigators that he had caused the holes in his uniform shirt by cutting it with a knife."

Wegener added, "There was no sniper, no shots fired and no gunshot injury sustained to his shoulder -- completely fabricated."

The deputies' union, ALADS, said it condemned Reinosa's actions.

"Not only does it bring discredit to the department and our deputies, it jeopardizes the trust and good faith we ask for from the public and elected officials. Worst of all, it's a slap in the face of deputies who have been shot in the line of duty, and to the families of those who paid the ultimate price for their service," the union said in a statement.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva did not appear to make the announcement about the investigation Saturday but also released a prepared statement online.

"Rather than delay reporting what we learned for another day, I felt that it was urgent that we share the truth with the public," the statement said. "As Sheriff, I am responsible for my deputies and am embarrassed & incredibly disappointed at what this Deputy did. I apologize to our community and our elected officials who rallied in our support."

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